Sonographers use special medical equipment to produce images of the inside of the human body, which are then given to physicians for a medical diagnosis. Sonography programs may be available in diagnostic medical sonography or in health sciences with a sonography concentration.
These schools offer sonography programs at varying levels and include both classroom and clinical training. Undergraduate programs are much more common than graduate programs, though a few master's-level options are available.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Seattle University||Seattle, WA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$39,690|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Certificate||$37,124|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$8,104 in-state, $27,890 out-of-state|
|St. Catherine University||St. Paul, MN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$35,500|
|University of Missouri - Columbia||Columbia, MO||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$9,509 in-state, $25,166 out-of-state|
|Adventist University of Health Sciences||Orlando, FL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$13,030|
|Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||Omaha, NE||4 year, Private not-for-profit||Associate's, Bachelor's||$13,418|
|Allen College||Waterloo, IA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Certificate, Bachelor's||$17,373|
|Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences||Memphis, TN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$10,892|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Aspects to consider when choosing a sonography school include the following:
- Most prospective sonographers will need to complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program in sonography, but individuals who are already working as allied health professionals can complete a certificate; master's degrees in this field are uncommon and are not required to get a job.
- Choosing a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professions will ensure that all prerequisite requirements are met for the certification examinations offered through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
- Students interested in being certified in a specific specialty area should choose a program that offers substantial coursework and clinical experience opportunities in that area.
- While most programs require a full-time commitment, there are some programs that offer classes on weekends, evenings and online for students who wish to maintain their current employment while pursuing their degree.
Certificate in Sonography
Most certificate programs are designed for current allied health professionals, but some also admit students who do not have extensive healthcare experience. In either case, prerequisite coursework is required in anatomy and physiology, healthcare terminology, physics, college writing and math. Coursework includes instruction in the various areas and techniques of sonography, but may not include training in all specialty areas. Multiple clinical practicums are required. Certificate programs typically take 1-1.5 years to complete.
Associate's Degree in Sonography
Similar to certificate programs, associate's degree programs can be designed either for healthcare professionals or for novices. Prerequisite coursework is required in either case. Associate's degree programs differ from certificate programs in that they require more general education requirements and take two years to complete. Associate's degree programs may provide more in-depth instruction or more options for courses in the different specialties within sonography. Clinical practice is also required.
Bachelor's Degree in Sonography
A bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete, and students must complete multiple clinical practicums. There is generally no prerequisite coursework for bachelor's degree programs.
Sonography programs are primarily available at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree levels, though a few graduate programs also exist. Students who wish to become sonographers should look for accredited programs that will prepare them for certification through organizations like ARDMS.